Frequently Asked Questions
Living in DC
The Washington Program provides students with a unique opportunity to study and intern in the Nation’s Capital. Prior students find their experience with the Washington Program to be extremely valuable, helping them to secure even more impressive internships in the summers following the program.
Yes. Participating in the Washington Program does not prohibit you from going abroad through Notre Dame International.
No. Students from any major and any college are eligible to participate in the Washington Program. Political Science majors do find the program particularly advantageous and are able to take classes towards the major.
Yes. Sophomores and Juniors are eligible to participate in the Washington Program.
See the Eligibility and Application section of our website (http://rooneycenter.nd.edu/washington-program/application/). Students should apply the year prior to their desired semester in DC.
No. Students will apply for internships after they have been accepted into the Program.
Students should be doing well academically, Deans and Academic Advisors expect students studying off campus to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Up to 16 students participate in the Washington Program each semester. These students come from all majors and colleges, and do not need to be Political Science majors.
Participating in the Washington Program is the same cost as a semester on campus. Students are charged ND tuition and a program fee equivalent to 1 semester of room and board on campus.
Meet with advisors from your major(s) and minor(s) to discuss your plan to meet your academic requirements. Begin thinking about what types of organizations you would like to intern with. DC-bound students will have three pre-departure meetings the semester prior to being in DC.
The pre-departure meetings are mandatory and will review the program, courses, student safety, and your internship search. Students also Skype with a current student in DC to see the apartments and ask questions.
UCDC stands for University of California Washington Center. The University of Notre Dame is part of the University of California’s consortium. Students take classes and live in the University of California’s building. www.ucdc.edu
The University of California system, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of San Francisco, and the University of Notre Dame are part of the UCDC consortium.
Notre Dame participates in the University of California’s Washington Program Consortium (UCDC). The building is located at 1608 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Washington DC 20036-3206. This is in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, an area with restaurants, stores, and easy access to the Metro and employers. This location is walking distance to the White House, National Mall, and monuments. Walking these areas is a favorite pastime of past students.
The building has classroom and office space on the lower floors, and student apartments on the upper floors.
The building has 24/7 security. All students and staff must show ID to enter the building. The elevator is also secure – only residents are able to access the apartment floors.
No. Students live in furnished apartments with a kitchen. The Washington Program provides a generous stipend to students to cover the cost of food.
Yes. Make your own coffee, pack lunch, budget your money and you will be fine.
No, taking a part-time job is prohibited. Due to the demanding schedule of daytime work at your internship and evening classes, there is not enough time for students to pick up part-time work. We want students to focus on getting the most out of their internship, classes, and living in DC, which won’t happen if you have additional work obligations.
Students should bring their own bedding (twin XL) including a pillow, as well as towels and a bathmat. Pack a professional wardrobe, personal care items, and computer. Comfortable shoes are essential.
Apartments are two-bedrooms, and a shared bath. They are furnished with basic bedroom and living room furniture, as well as essential kitchen items. A complete list of items included in the apartment can be found here: http://ucdc.edu/residential-life/residential-life-apartments
Yes, or plan to buy them when you arrive.
Four students share two-bedroom apartments.
Yes, apartments are single-sex.
Not necessarily. There are four students to an apartment, and generally students live with others from their University. However, if there are an odd number of students participating in the Program, they may live with students from other universities in the consortium.
Yes. UCDC will email students with a housing/roommate survey where students can make roommate requests. Note: both students must request each other.
There are coin and credit card operated laundry facilities in the building.
Washington DC offers endless cultural opportunities from museums to restaurants. Many museums (Smithsonian, National Gallery, National Zoo, etc.) are free. The Notre Dame Washington Program also covers a historical tour of the lower mall monuments. In addition, past students have found taking advantage of various DC festivals, such as the Kite Festival and Cherry Blossom Festival, to be highlights of their time.
Students have an internship of their choosing while in DC. Internships do not need to be political. In the past, students have interned for organizations across DC including federal government/policy work, museums, media, law firms, and private business.
You are expected to work a minimum of 24 hours per week (3 full days) at your internship.
Students may not work on Thursdays due to the required Foundations of Public Policy seminar and Policy Visits. Most students work Monday – Wednesday and Friday. It will be up to the student and internship supervisor to determine work hours.
The Washington Program does not “place” students in an internship. The Notre Dame Career Center has numerous resources available to students to help them find their internship – including databases specializing in DC internships. Program staff work closely with the Career Center to mentor and assist students. You can read more about internships, including a selected list of where previous students have interned, here: http://rooneycenter.nd.edu/washington-program/academic-program/special-opportunities/
Most organizations in DC post their internships about 3 months prior to the start of the semester. Students that will be in DC during the Fall semester will conduct their internship search over the summer and students that will be in DC during the Spring semester begin applying mid-Fall semester. *Some federal offices that require background checks and/or are highly competitive (i.e. State Department, White House) have deadlines that are much earlier.
Many students from across the country want to intern in DC at some point during their college years. Summer internships are most competitive, followed by Spring and Fall semesters. Students should take their internship search seriously.
In over 20 years of running a Washington Program no Notre Dame student has gone without an internship. Some organizations will make their decisions at the last minute. Program staff work closely with all students to make sure they have an engaging internship opportunity while in DC.
All students are required to take three courses; Foundations of Public Policy, Public Policy Visits, and their Internship. Foundations of Public Policy and the Public Policy Visits are graded, while the Internship is Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. Foundations of Public Policy counts as a 2nd Philosophy. You can read more about courses here: http://rooneycenter.nd.edu/washington-program/academic-program/courses/
UCDC consortium partners offer several courses each semester. Many courses vary semester to semester. Most tend to be Political Science courses, however, there are occasionally courses in Sociology, Economics, and English. You can see current and past course offerings here (be sure to select semester from the drop down menu and look at the courses listed under semester elective): http://ucdc.edu/academic/courses.
The required seminar, Foundations of Public Policy, counts as a 2nd Philosophy. There are options that will fulfill social science and fine art requirements. Courses that fulfil major requirements will depend on consortium offerings. Independent Study/Directed Readings are available. Contact the Program for more information or to discuss your needs.
Classes are typically held in the evenings and meet once per week from 6:30-9:30 pm. These classes include students from all of the Universities that participate in the UCDC Consortium and they serve as an excellent way to meet students outside of Notre Dame.